Book Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

I’d been reading a lot of hype about Good Girl since I follow the author on several different venues. I’m always excited for a Lauren Layne novel, and though this one felt a little different from her previous work, it was still enjoyable.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
While hiding out from the media, a country singer falls for an attractive caretaker, not knowing he’s actually the owner of her hideaway. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

America’s Sweetheart…or Homewrecker
Jenny Dawson enjoys her career as a country singer sweetheart, but when the media starts calling her a homewrecker based on the lies of another country star, she goes into hiding at an old house in Louisiana that she remembered from her childhood as a musical retreat. It’s obvious from the start that Noah, the caretaker, doesn’t like her, but she figures she can avoid him for the time she’s going to be there.

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A Man With Issues
Noah is grumpy and kind of a dick in general. And he’s not just the caretaker, he’s also the owner. His parentage put him in two different worlds, a poorer world where he struggled and then, when his dad found him, the world of the wealthy. He’s hiding out too, from a psycho ex-fiance who doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “done.” When he meets Jenny, he lets her think he’s just the caretaker.  Also, he’s convinced she’s a diva and decides that other than checking her out, he really doesn’t want to have anything to do with her.

That Caretaker is So Hot Right Now
You can definitely see where this is going. The trope is standard, and it’s not a secret that in close proximity, these two are going to get their hook up. But it’s in the details that this book is so enjoyable. Jenny is likable and sweet and not really the diva Noah seems to think she is. Contrary to what the media says, she’s not experienced, but she does have a wild side that she starts to think Noah could help her explore.

Though he redeems himself, Noah isn’t as good of a character. He’s written well, but he’s kind of a jerk, pushing Jenny away, then getting close to her only to push her away again. He’s confused, sure, and he’s dealing with the whole fall out of his cancelled wedding and cheating ex, but he made me so mad at the way he’d get all up in Jenny’s business and then completely ignore her. And he knew he was doing it too.

In the Mind of a Head Case
What redeems the romance is that the story switches between Jenny and Noah’s first person point of view, and so instead of just seeing Noah playing mind games with Jenny, we actually get inside his head to see his reasoning behind acting like a tool. Does it justify it? No, not really, but it does help us sympathize and it makes for more feels when we actually get to see him hurting as well. At least to a small degree.

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The Romance Factor
The romance was there, but it wasn’t as strong as I was expecting. There was an amazing break up scene at the end (before the HEA, of course), and though Jenny and Noah had some really cute moments, and even though I didn’t end up hating Noah, there were a lot of times I really wanted Jenny to just smack him. 3/5

The Steam Factor
There are some really good sexy times in this book. Even if Noah is an emotional mess, the chemistry between him and Jenny was hot and well written. I also liked Jenny’s adventurous nature and her calling Noah out on his slut shaming at one point. While the romance didn’t always mesh perfectly with the sex, it was still a strong point of the novel. Also, innovative use of zip ties gets brownie points. 4/5

Final Thoughts
While an enjoyable read, this wasn’t my favorite LL book. I wasn’t disappointed per se, it just didn’t grab me as much as some of her previous ones. I’ll still be looking forward to her next book in this series though. It was still a good afternoon read with a hot and sultry setting and cute dogs as co-stars. So not a full win…but still a win.

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